By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- A meeting of the national executive of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) in Saint Lucia planned for Sunday was postponed at the last minute, ostensibly because the budget documents received for debate in parliament next week are very thick and require a lot of time to read.
However, according to party insiders, the meeting, the primary reason for which was to consider the future within the party of disaffected UWP parliamentary representative for Castries Central, Richard Frederick, was in fact hurriedly put off as a result of a press release issued by Frederick on Friday.
In his release, Frederick accused party leader Allen Chastanet of attempting to deceive the people of Saint Lucia and being the author of the current division within the UWP.
Frederick also publicly addressed for the first time a number of issues surrounding Chastanet’s election as party leader at the UWP convention last year.
Amongst other things, he alleged that the list of delegates at the convention was “doctored” to ensure the ensuing result in Chastanet’s favour. All of his allegations “are capable of easy proof,” Frederick said.
He also dealt with statements made by Chastanet on at least two separate occasions following the leadership election that he (Chastanet) was unable and unwilling to work with either Frederick or former party leader Stephenson King.
Having publicly announced his position, Chastanet went on to compound his errors by stating on national television that he never made any such statement, Frederick said.
“A good and mature leader would have attempted instead to take back the statement and offer some kind of affable explanation for it. He chose instead to blatantly deny it. What are his supporters who heard him thinking? Is it okay for him to lie about this, and yet blame me for taking the position that I have chosen to take contingent upon his statement?” Frederick asked.
Frederick called on Chastanet to justify his statement that he (Frederick) is a troublemaker.
“Is it making trouble to speak the truth and denounce what I perceive to be wrong? The age old adage is apt: ‘cee e pas nis situise e pa cai nee voler’ (If no one accommodated them there would be no thieves),” Frederick said.
“Many things are happening within the UWP. Changes are taking place that are not in keeping with the party’s constitution. Mr Chastanet himself does not appear to even understand the workings of the party and its constitution. I hope he understands the implications of each and every decision that he takes. I wish to remind him that for every action there will be a reaction. I urge him to dot all his i’s and cross all his t’s!” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) weighed in on an ongoing controversy involving another UWP parliamentary representative Guy Joseph.
Phillip Jn Baptiste
In a press release on Sunday, LPM caretaker candidate for Micoud South, Phillip Jn Baptiste, called upon deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, port services and transport, Phillip J. Pierre, to refer allegations of corruption to the courts if he believes that Joseph has broken any laws.
“At a time when most Saint Lucians are increasingly unable to find jobs and are struggling to feed their families, no one should continue to tolerate the behaviour of grown men who malign each other’s character but do not have the honesty and intestinal fortitude to allow a court of law to pass judgment on the many vicious claims they make in parliament,” Jn Baptiste said.
Failure to act accordingly, Jn Baptiste said, means that it is then reasonable to conclude that the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government has willfully misled the people of Saint Lucia through a coordinated parliamentary strategy of engaging in political mischief and the dissemination of propaganda.
“I hope, for the sake of the people of Saint Lucia, that this upcoming budgetary exercise is presented in an atmosphere that is free of political drama and refrains from the use of flashing mirrors and smoke screens in an effort to divert the people’s attention,” Jn Baptiste concluded.